Thursday, July 9, 2015

Soft & Fluffy Pandan Pancakes

I've been hooked onto fresh pandan extract ever since returning to Malaysia. Well, let me tell you how it all started...

I was checking out the back of my garden one afternoon only to find such a humongous pandan plant.

I was so excited, I called out to my helper who then helped me snip away at those leaves.

As I am working with a mini blender, I cut them as small and thinly as I can. I like to make one huge batch (about 15-20 leaves) at a time and I just estimate 1 cup of snipped pandan leaves with 50ml of water.

Blend until finely blitzed then strain over fine sieve and store in jar.

This is how it looks on the first day. Leave it in the fridge for a couple of days to allow the chlorophyll to sink to the bottom.

Mine usually takes 2-3 days. See that thick green layer at the bottom of the jar? That's the concentrated pandan extract that you'd want to keep for this recipe!

You may also reserve the remaining bits of the extract for other recipes such as mantou's.

You can use the pandan extract for lots of different recipes; cakes, bread, buns or even fluffy pancakes. ;)

I've received a number of requests for the pandan pancake recipe since posting this shot of my pancake stack on Instagram, so here you go!

Pandan Pancakes
Recipe by The Bakeanista; yields 12 thick pancakes

  • 6 large eggs, separated 
  • 230g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 200ml milk (you may try using coconut milk too)
  • 6 tbsp of concentrated natural pandan extract 
  • Pinch of sugar

  1. First separate the eggs, putting the whites into one bowl and the yolks into another.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, milk and pandan extract to the yolks and mix to a smooth thick batter.
  3. Whisk the whites with the sugar until they form stiff peaks. Fold into the egg yolk batter – it is now ready to use.
  4. Heat a good non-stick pan on medium heat. Pour some of your batter into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes until it starts to look golden and firm. When you start to notice bubbles, loosen pancake with a spatula and flip it over. Continue frying until both sides are golden.
  5. Stack the pancakes up, then top or layer with whatever tickles your fancy before digging in. ;)
I reckon caramelised banana and roasted desiccated coconut or coconut chips even would go really well with pandan. Finally, drizzle with a generous dash of maple syrup or gula Melaka syrup.

If you do not have access to pandan leaves to make your own extract, you may replace with the store-bought ones. Maybe start with 1 tsp of the Koepoe Koepoe pandan extract first, then add more for a more intense colour/flavour.

You could also use the concentrated extract to bake this fragrant pandan butter cake. Oh, the kitchen smelt so absolutely good as I took the cake, fresh and warm out of the oven. If you'd like to give it a go, I used this recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover. :)

As you can tell, I really love pandan a lot, and have blogged about it in the past as well. You can check out these other recipes if you're interested but note I used store bought pandan extract back then:

I just made another batch of pandan extract and I'm planning to make pandan bread next! I'll update you with how I go. Happy baking! :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Matcha Hokkaido Milk Bread

I went through my blog and realised majority of the past few posts were all reviews on brunch places, so I thought I'd break it up a little and share this great recipe for Matcha Hokkaido Milk toast. :)

You all know by now how much I adore the Hokkaido Milk Toast recipe which I've made many times before. This time around I wanted to combine both of my two favourite things: Hokkaido milk toast + green tea, so I incorporated matcha and boy, the result was AMAZING!!

The kitchen smelt so so good when I took the bread fresh out of the oven. The bread not only smelt great, its texture was also to-die-for.

It was soft, milky and fluffy!! I was so so happy, I cut myself a thick slice, and enjoyed it plain on its own, with a cuppa homemade green tea latte, whilst beaming from ear to ear.

Bread-making to me, is very satisfying. Sure it is arduous, and yes there are a lot of steps and waiting period, but I can assure you it is all worthwhile in the end.

The Boyfriend came back from work and had 3 slices of bread, even after a heavy dinner and gave me the big thumbs up! I can't explain exactly how I felt, but it was a happy moment. :)

I am crediting the great texture of the bread to the use of tangzhong (water roux) method. I've used the tangzhong method numerous times and it always, always yields a good loaf of bread.

In terms of the matcha strength, it could definitely be a little more distinctive. I used 15 grams of matcha powder and loved that there was a delicate, but not overly subtle green tea flavour.

However, as I like my matcha strong, I will try 20 grams of matcha powder next time.

Kindly also note that the original recipe calls for bread flour, but as I ran out of bread flour, I improvised and used Lillian's recipe where she has substituted bread for plain flour instead.

To my surprise though, I did find the bread this round using plain flour to be a little softer than usual. I guess I won't bother going out of my way to get bread flour next time.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I did! :)

Matcha Hokkaido Milk Bread
Recipe adapted from Sweets by Sillianah & modified by The Bakeanista

  • 350 grams all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk, slightly warmed
  • 120 grams tangzhong (see below for recipe)
  • 2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 42g butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1-2 tbsp matcha powder (depending on strength you prefer)
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Method using breadmaker
  1. Add all ingredients (except butter) into a breadmaker, first the wet ingredients (egg, milk, tangzhong), then followed by the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, matcha powder, yeast).
  2. Select the "dough" mode (refer to the menu of your breadmaker to select the kneading dough programme).
  3. When all ingredients come together, add in the butter, continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. The time of kneading in the breadmaker is about 30 minutes.
  4. Let the dough complete the 1st round of proofing, about 40 minutes, best temperature for proofing is 28C, humidity 75%, until double in size.
  5. Punch and deflate dough, then remove dough from bowl and shape into a ball. As this recipe makes two loafs, divide into six equal portion. Knead into balls and let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  6. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape (see picture 2 below).
  7. Fold 1/3 from top edge to the middle and press (see pict 3). Then fold 1/3 from bottom to the middle and press (see pict 4).
  8. Turn seal downward. Roll flat and stretch in length (see picture 5). With seal upward, roll into a cylinder (see picture 6).
  9. With seal facing down (see picture 7), place in the loaf tins to have the 2nd round of proofing (see picture 8), until double in size. The best temperature for 2nd round proofing is 38C, humidity 85%.
  10. Brush whisked egg wash on surface. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for 30 to 35 minutes, until top of bread is shiny and golden brown.
  11. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Photo Credit to Christine's Recipes

    How to make tangzhong?

    Ingredients of tangzhong (amount enough to make two loaves):
    • 47g plain flour
    • 1 cup water

    Method of making tangzhong:

    Photo Credit to Christine's Recipes
    1. Mix flour in water well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.
    2. The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon. It’s done. You get the tangzhong.
    3. Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let cool (I always let it chill in the refrigerator).
    4. The tangzhong can be used straight away once it cools down to room temperature.  Just measure out the amount you need.
    5. The leftover tangzhong can be stored in fridge up to a few days as long as it doesn't turn grey. If so, you need to discard.
    6. Note: The chilled tangzhong should return to room temperature before adding into other ingredients.
    There's so much you can do with this Hokkaido Milk toast recipe! I made a milk and chocolate version as well, just by substituting the matcha with either milk powder or cocoa powder.

    Then I played around swirling the few flavours together:
    • Matcha and chocolate
    • Chocolate and milk
    • Milk and matcha

    The flavours went really well together, and the bread were as usual soft and fluffy. 

    I simply love the beautiful mix of colours, particularly this tri-flavoured swirl Hokkaido loaf. It was also ultra delicious! :)

    If you love soft bread, and enjoy bread making, I definitely recommend you give this recipe a go.

    Good luck, and let me know if you've got any questions!! Whilst I ain't no bread expert, I will try to help you as best as I can. :)

    Thursday, May 28, 2015

    Rustica Sourdough

    I've had Rustica Sourdough on my never ending to-eat-list ever since I read about it on Broadsheet. After seeing photos of the French toast time and again on my Instagram feed, I was going to drag The Boyfriend there with me before I flew off.

    So you can imagine, when the invitation to brunch at Rustica came through the very next day, I was so happy, I did a happy chicken dance! The law of attraction must be working in my favour woohoo!

    As we made our way into the cafe, we were welcomed with a fragrant aroma of freshly baked bread. There was a wide selection of bread, rolls and pastries on display; and they all looked so so good!

    We were kindly seated by the open pastry kitchen, and I watched in awe as the pastry chefs worked their magic through some almond and chocolate croissants. I could not stop staring; sorry chefs, it must have been awkward to have people just looking on as you work. :|

    I started with a cuppa soy hot chocolate. I would usually order a mocha, but upon seeing that they serve Monsieur Truffe's hot chocolate, I simply had to have a cuppa. OH SO GOOD!

    The Boyfriend had a cup of English Breakfast tea and at this stage, The Boyfriend said he felt a little unwell and I thought maybe he was just a little too hungry as it was past noon, we haven't had any brekkie and it did take a while before our order was taken.

    I was really really keen on trying the French toast that I've seen multiple times on Instagram, however as I was having some bad tummy cramps, I thought okay, I should refrain myself from having sweets and ice cream so instead I settled for the croque monsieur.

    The three-stack croque monsieur consisting of ham hock, swiss gruyere, and seeded mustard bechamel on pumpkin brioche was amazing! It was a guilty indulgence no doubt, but one very worthy of its calories, I can assure you.

    The Boyfriend on the other hand, opted for the beef brisket burger with chipotle mayo, herb slaw and pickles on brioche bun, served with french fries. The rich crumbly brioche bun was a great match to the tender brisket. I stole a bite of the burger and absolutely loved it.

    I was looking forward to dessert but unfortunately though, as The Boyfriend was struck with a migraine midway through, we had to make a quick dash without finishing our food.

    The music was pumping loud which would otherwise have been great for the atmosphere if not for The Boyfriend's headache.

    The few bites that we had were fantastic though. Well, at least I was really enjoying my meal, but my poor boyfriend had his head pounding away and could barely stomach any food. He did say to me the following day, "The burger was yummy, wished I didn't have migraine."

    We excused ourselves, and were so surprised and pleased when we were presented with a goodie bag to take home. I am glad The Boyfriend managed to at least enjoy the bread after he woke up from his 3 hours nap, hungry and still a little groggy.

    Fresh, light and airy; everything I'd ask for in a loaf of sourdough bread. It was also my first time having pumpkin bread and I loved it. A soft and slightly sweet loaf; I was enjoying it plain with olive oil and it was so satisfyingly good.

    Rustica Sourdough Bakery on Urbanspoon
    Thank you ID Collective and Rustica Sourdough for the invitation and great food. We will have to return again soon so we can take our time and enjoy a proper meal next time. I need to get my hands on the beautiful pastries and the French toast.

    It's only been slightly less than 2 weeks since I left Melbourne and I am already missing the brunch scene. Oh, I just can't wait to be back. So please do enjoy an extra plate of the French toast on my behalf! ;)
    Click on 'OLDER POSTS' for more! :)